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’77 CIAA Champs Headline Latest WSSU Hall of Fame Class

Former WSSU football coach and current Delaware State head coach Kermit Blount will be inducted into the C.E. Gaines Hall of Fame at WSSU as a member of the 1977 CIAA championship team. (WS Journal Photo)

Winston-Salem State announced its latest Hall of Fame Class on Friday, and it was rather football heavy. That may not sound surprising given the school’s recent football success, but until recently, WSSU has been known as a basketball school. Headlining the list of inductees into the C.E. Gaines Hall of Fame  is the 1977 CIAA Championship team, coached by current athletic director Bill Hayes.

The 1977 Rams featured All-CIAA players Cornelius Washington (DB), Robert Weeks (C), Kermit Blount (QB), Timmy Newsome (RB), Gary Railford (OT), James Winbush (DT) It was the first football team in the school’s history to produce a regular season undefeated team and to win the CIAA Football Championship. This team produced six All-CIAA players and two NAIA All-American team members. They also had two Pittsburgh Courier All-American team members and four of the Rams’ players went on to play in the NFL.

Other inductees include:

Martin Hicks finished third all-time in WSSU rushing yards. 

Martin Hicks (Football) Class of 2006  Hicks was a 4-Year Letterman and 3-time All-CIAA running back for WSSU. He was tabbed the 2005 CIAA Offensive Player of the Year, and finished his career as the third all-time rusher in WSSU history with 3,386 yards. He holds the all-time record for longest kickoff return of 97 yards vs NCCU in 2002. Hicks, is part of the record setting tandem that ranks as the only running backs from the same team to gain 1,000 yards in the same season. In the 2002 season, he was named All-CIAA as a kick returner, and in 2003 he was named to the Don Hansen’s All-South Region first team at running back. Hicks, is a Winston-Salem Fire Fighter, EMS and a member of the Search and Rescue team.

Lesley Barley, Jr (Football) Class of 1997

Barley earned NCAA DII Freshman All-American honors in 1986, and earned All-CIAA honors in 1988 and 1989, all while being named the Rams team captain. He would go on to help guide the Rams to CIAA Championships in 1987 and ’88 before a successful 10 year professional career.

Mose’ Belton (Meritorious Service) Class of 1972 An insurance agent by trade, Belton is a contributor to WSSU, and in 2009 was chosen as Ms. Alumni for Winston-Salem State. She is a member of the WSSU Local Alumni Association (Kimberley Park Chapter) and has served on WSSU Board of Visitors.

Billy R. Diggs (Football/Basketball) Class of 1979 Billy Diggs, an operator with Luxfer Gas Cylinders, was a four year letterman in both football and basketball during his tenure at Winston-Salem State. In 1977, Diggs pulled a rare double championship as he was a member of both the Rams football and basketball CIAA Champions. In 1978, he was named All-CIAA as a wide receiver, as would go on to be drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the ninth round of the 1979 NFL Draft. Diggs would go on to represent the WSSU Rams in the Black College All-Star Bowl Game, and was voted to the CIAA Sportswriters All-CIAA team.

Kelvin Farmer (Meritorious Service) Class of 1986 Kelvin Farmer was a member of the 1982-1983 football team and has been associated with the University ever since. He is President and CEO of KE Farmer Enterprises, Inc, and is a life member of the NAACP. Farmer is also a life member of the WSSU National Alumni Association, and has been on the WSSU Foundation Board since 2007. He has also held the position of National Treasurer of the WSSU National Alumni Association (1994-1999).

Ralph Jones (Basketball) Class of 1973 Jones was a member of the WSSU Basketball team under Coach “Big House” Gaines (1969-1972), where he averaged 14.2 points per game. Jones, a retired New York City Department of Education worker, was a member of the CIAA Championship team in 1970, and was team captain on the 1971-72 Rams hoops team. He would go on to play in the Rucker Park League (amongst well known NBA players) and other city tournaments.

Steve Lindsay (Football/Meritorious Service) Class of 1972  Lindsay was a four year letterman and co-captain of the 1971 Southern Division Football Championship team. The retired public school teacher has spent his retirement years supporting various endeavors including the YMCA, the WSSU Athletics 1000 HORN$ Program, WSSU RAMS Varsity Club and the North Carolina Special Olympics.

The individual inductees and the team will be inducted into a ceremony on Friday, November 8th at the Anderson Conference Center located in the McNeil Banquet Room in Winston-Salem, N.C. and will be honored at halftime of the Winston-Salem Football Classic, featuring Winston-Salem State versus Fayetteville State University on Saturday, November 9th.

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